Letterkenny is Cleaner than European Norms and among the top 10 cleanest towns in the land, according to the latest litter survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL). The town has climbed from 14th to 8th place in the ranking of 40 towns and cities.
The survey also revealed that Ireland’s principal tourist towns and cities are cleaner than ever as the peak season for visitors approaches. Kilkenny topped the rankings, with Ballymun in Dublin City a litter blackspot at the foot of the table.
The An Taisce report stated: “Maintaining its year on year improvement of recent years, Letterkenny has scored very well with eight out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade and no heavily littered sites. With so many top ranking sites, a few which deserve special mention. Letterkenny Shopping Centre and the Car park of same were exceptionally good with regard to litter and presentation. The residential area of Ballyraine Park and Church of Irish Martyrs were also top ranking – the latter was particularly well presented and maintained.”
Litter levels were assessed by An Taisce, who found 31 of towns and cities, or 77%, to be clean. This was in line with recent IBAL surveys. Kilkenny topped the rankings for the 5th time, ahead of Athlone and Killarney, and the centres of our main cities Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford were cleaner than previously, only Limerick failing to achieve Clean status.
“Today’s tourists demand high levels of cleanliness and these results indicate that’s what they will be getting this year when they come to Ireland,” says IBAL’s Conor Horgan.
“It is also important that their first impression be a good one, so it’s pleasing to see the roads around Dublin Airport are again to Clean to European norms.”
For the first time in three years, an area received the lowest grade of ‘litter blackspot’ as Ballymun recorded one of the worst results since the league was founded 17 years ago.
“An indication of the progress we’ve made over past five years has been the absence of litter blackspots in our survey,” says Mr Horgan. However, as the Ballymun and other results show, there has been little if any progress in disadvantaged areas of our cities. The gap between these areas and the commercial high-footfall commercial city centres is widening.”
Dumping continues to feature prominently in IBAL surveys and accounts for many of the individual blackspots found in cities. Limerick City’s rating was brought down by dumping in the basements of Cecil Street and an area at Upper William Street, described as “filthy, one of the worst sites in a city centre environment.” A house on Seville Place in Dublin was used as a dumping ground, with “a mattress and all manner of rubbish” present, while a car park at Lakelands View in Mahon in Cork was “in a shocking state, clearly used as a dumping ground for domestic rubbish … soiled nappies and several dozen black sacks”.
Otherwise clean, Ballybeg in Waterford suffered from dumping beside the GAA Club and at the Horticultural Project Initiative. “What was probably set out to be a place of pleasure has been destroyed,” according to An Taisce.
“We have a perception of dumping as something that takes place outside of our cities and towns, far from public view,” says Mr Horgan. “The survey shows this is not the case.”